Objective: To assess the associations between the consumption of sugary drinks (such as sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices), artificially sweetened beverages, and the risk of cancer.
Design: Population based prospective cohort study.
Setting and participants: Overall, 101 257 participants aged 18 and over (mean age 42.2, SD 14.4; median follow-up time 5.1 years) from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort (2009-2017) were included. Consumptions of sugary drinks and artificially sweetened beverages were assessed by using repeated 24 hour dietary records, which were designed to register participants' usual consumption for 3300 different food and beverage items.
Main outcome measures: Prospective associations between beverage consumption and the risk of overall, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer were assessed by multi-adjusted Fine and Gray hazard models, accounting for competing risks. Subdistribution hazard ratios were computed.
Results: The consumption of sugary drinks was significantly associated with the risk of overall cancer (n=2193 cases, subdistribution hazard ratio for a 100mL/d increase 1.18, 95% confidence interval 1.10 to 1.27, P<0.0001) and breast cancer (693, 1.22, 1.07 to 1.39, P=0.004). The consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was not associated with the risk of cancer. In specific subanalyses, the consumption of 100% fruit juice was significantly associated with the risk of overall cancer (2193, 1.12, 1.03 to 1.23, P=0.007).
Conclusions: In this large prospective study, the consumption of sugary drinks was positively associated with the risk of overall cancer and breast cancer. 100% fruit juices were also positively associated with the risk of overall cancer. These results need replication in other large scale prospective studies. They suggest that sugary drinks, which are widely consumed in Western countries, might represent a modifiable risk factor for cancer prevention.
Study registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03335644.
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